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10 Best NFL Players of All Time: Icons Who Shaped the Game

The NFL league has produced numerous legendary athletes, making it challenging to choose the 10 Best NFL players of all time. However, we have put up a list of the top ten NFL players who have ever stepped foot on the field after careful consideration and a rigorous analysis of statistics, records, and impact on the game. Some of these sportsmen have triumphed over their opponents, motivated the crowd, and left a mark on the sport that will be cherished for years to come, while others were solo performers who dominated their opponents with ease and left their imprint in the pages of NFL history.  

The NFL has a long history of dominant players who have taken the game to new heights, from the irresistible force of Jim Brown to the unmatched leadership of Joe Montana. These players possess the special combination of physical and mental skills that football requires, and they have mastered both. Some of these players served as the foundation of their teams and propelled them to championship success. They were unbeatable against the competitors and set records that made an enduring impression on the sport. Regardless of their differences, they all have a single thing in common: a desire to excel. So, let’s take a look at these greatest players and some records they have registered to their name.

Also Read: Chasing Super Bowl Dreams: 11 NFL Teams That Never Won A Superbowl

Let’s Look The Best NFL Players Of All Time And Their Indelible Mark On The Sport

Since NFL is America’s most loved sports league, there have been numerous famous players, but some of them have left a legacy. Let’s now talk about 10 such players in the history of the NFL.

1. Travis Kelce

Travis Kelce-Best NFL players of all time

On the football field, Travis Kelce, the highest-ranked tight end in the Top 100 for the second year in a row, is a force to be reckoned with. 

As a tight end entering his tenth season, Kelce is on pace to have a career of historic proportions. The three-time All-Pro and seven-time Pro Bowler is very close to racking up 10,000 career yards and is on pace to overtake some of the finest tight ends in NFL history. In 2021, Kelce recorded 92 receptions for 1,125 yards with nine touchdowns, demonstrating his dependability and superiority on the field. He and his quarterback get along well, which makes him a dependable target for his squad.

2. Davante Adams

Davante Adams-Best NFL players of all time

One of the best NFL players of all time, Davante Adams, is a tyrannical force on the field. He has achieved career highs in 2021 for receptions (123) and receiving yards (1,553), giving him two straight seasons in the All-Pro and Pro Bowl. Just three catches separated him from taking the lead in receptions, demonstrating his dependability and capacity for huge plays. In the previous five seasons combined, receiving yards (6,195) and touchdowns (57) were tops in the league. 

Adams is one of the top NFL players of all time thanks to his stellar résumé and dominance on the field, and his future success will only cement his reputation. He possesses the perfect combination of size, quickness, route-running, sure hands, and field awareness, personifying the ideal traits for an NFL wide receiver. He also became the highest-paid wide receiver in NFL history after joining the Raiders, confirming his position as one of the league’s top pass catchers.

3. Cooper Kupp 

Cooper Kupp-Best NFL players of all time

With his outstanding 2021 season, Cooper Kupp is a talent to be reckoned with on the football field and has cemented his place among the top 10. He won the “triple crown” among wide receivers by dominating the league in catches, yards, and touchdowns. He achieved an exceptional achievement by being only the fourth player since 1970 to hold the lead in each major receiving category. He earned votes for MVP and was selected as the 2021 AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year. 

His strong postseason run, which included 33 receptions for 478 yards and 6 touchdowns in 4 games, followed his excellent regular season. His legendary performance on the Rams’ game-winning drive in Super Bowl LVI secured the Super Bowl MVP trophy. Kupp made his sole prior appearance on the Top 100 in 2020, ranking No. 89, during what is regarded as one of the greatest seasons by a wide receiver. He has earned a spot among the famous NFL players thanks to his remarkable talent and persistent commitment to the game.

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4. Patrick Mahomes

Patrick Mahomes-Best NFL players of all time

One of the greatest NFL players of all time is the young gunslinging quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes. With 4,839 passing yards and 37 touchdowns on the strength of a career-high 436 completions in 2021, Mahomes came very close to surpassing 5,000 passing yards for the second time in his career. Even though Mahomes dropped seven spots from last year’s top 100, his slide is not a reflection of his abilities but rather a futile attempt to replicate the impressive stats from his 2018 MVP performance. 

The 26-year-old quarterback, who recently led the Chiefs to their fourth consecutive AFC Championship Game, is ranked in the top 10 for a record fourth year. Mahomes frequently pulls off seemingly impossible throws that amaze spectators thanks to his gumby-like escapability in and around the pocket. Mahomes also achieved career-high rushing totals in 2021, racking up 381 yards and two scores. One of the most exciting and explosive quarterbacks in the NFL, Mahomes is a guy to watch in the years to come, thanks to his rocket arm and exceptional escape ability.

5. Tom Brady 

Patrick Mahomes-Best NFL players of all time

The 42-year-old Tom Brady is a player who was picked last in the NFL draft and proved the decision wrong. He became one of the most loved and top NFL players of all time. He played the position of quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and 20 seasons with the New England Patriots. Out of 9 features, he won a total of 6. He has won 5 Super Bowl MVP titles and 7 Super Bowl titles and has been selected 14 times for the Super Bowl pro. He is the one and only quarterback to win a total of 200 regular seasons. He has been named NFL player of the year twice.

6. Jerry Rice 

jerry rice

Jerry Rice, who played wide receiver for the Seattle Seahawks, Oakland Raiders, and San Francisco 49ers is considered one of the best NFL players of all time and is the best at his position. He was named in the list of 100 greatest NFL players. He played a total of 13 Pro Bowls, out of which he earned 10 1st team all-pro. He holds multiple records for most receiving yards, touchdowns, and receptions. He retired in the year 2005 after an amazing and entertaining career.

7. Jim Brown 

Jim Brown-Best NFL players of all time

Jim Brown played a fullback for the Cleveland Browns from 1957-1965. He played a total of nine seasons and received the Pro Bowl invitation in every season. He became the NFL champion in the 1964 league, and he was voted for NFL MVP 3 times. He also bagged a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971. He is considered one of the top NFL players of all time.

Also Read: 10 Highest Paid Athletes In The World In 2023

8. Emmitt Smith

Emmitt Smith-Best NFL players of all time

Emmitt Smith played in the NFL league for 15 seasons and was a running back, and is among the top leading rushers in the league. He primarily played for the Dallas Cowboys. He is the only running back who won the Super Bowl championship, the NFL rushing award, picked the NFL MVP crown, and the Super Bowl MVP all in a single season. How great is he, and what makes him one of the best NFL players of all time? Last but not least, he was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the year 2010.

9. Barry Sanders

Barry Sanders-Best NFL players of all time

Barry Sanders played for the Detroit Lions from 1989-1998 in the running back position. He led the NFL league in rushing touchdowns one time and rushing yards 4 times, which makes him one of the most famous NFL players of all time. He is known for his agility, power, strength, and, most of all, his swiftness. He got invited to the Pro Bowl ten times and bagged the title of NFL Offensive Player of the Year twice in 1994 and 1997. He never featured in the Super Bowl, but he definitely is one of the greatest NFL players.

10. Payton Manning

Payton Manning-Best NFL players of all time

Payton Williams Manning, also known as “The Sheriff”, was an American Football player who was considered one of the most amazing quarterbacks during his career. He holds a record of more than 500 touchdowns and holds numerous passing records to his name. He played 18 seasons in the NFL league, of which 14 were with the Indianapolis Colts and 4 were with the Denver Broncos. He is the only player to win the Super Bowl league with two franchises, which makes him one of the best NFL players of all time. He also won the NFL Comeback Player of the year in 2012.

Also Read: Chasing Super Bowl Dreams: 11 NFL Teams That Never Won A Superbowl

With this, we conclude our list of 10 greatest NFL players of all time. National Football League (NFL), is and will continue to be one of America’s most popular sporting leagues, admired by millions of people worldwide. In the season of 2021, the combined revenue of all 32 games was a mind-boggling $17.1 billion. Enthusiasts from all around the world fill the stands during the 17-week-long pro football event. If you are a football fan, you can enjoy this league on various TV channels such as Sony ESPN, Disney+ Hotstar, etc. 

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions):

  1. Who is the greatest NFL player of all time?

Deciding the greatest NFL player of all time is a very subjective question because all these players have great records to their names. But according to several media reports, radio channels and sports magazines, Tom Brady is considered the greatest NFL player.

  1. Who has the most fans in the NFL?

With 32 teams in America’s most popular sporting event, The England Patriots is the most active team on various social media platforms and is followed by millions of people worldwide. Having Tom Brady on its side has made the team exceptionally popular, and 4.6 million people on Instagram follow it.

  1. Who are the top five NFL players of all time?

The top 5 NFL players of all time are: Tom Brady, Jerry Rice, Lawrence Taylor, Joe Montana and Jim Brown.

  1. Who are the top 5 quarterbacks in NFL history?

With 4 Super Bowl MVPS, 6 Super Bowl championships and many records in his name, Tom Brady is one of the top 5 quarterbacks in NFL history, followed by Joe Montana, Dan Marino, Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning.

  1. Who is the most famous NFL player?

To name the most famous NFL player, no doubt the star of American Football, Tom Brady, is the most loved athlete in the NFL. He is followed by 13.2 million people on Instagram, 2.9 million people on Twitter, and 5 million people on Facebook.

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Monika Ahuja
Monika Ahuja
Monika is a sports fanatic who loves expressing her emotions through her words. She always holds the spirit of the game when writing about them. She has an extensive understanding of different sports formats that prevent her from making any unsubstantiated accusations towards a player or sport. Her understanding, combined with her rigorous research skills, helps her deliver the best sports content.

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